2 Step Verification for HMRC business customers

25 July 2016

In March, HMRC introduced an extra layer of security that business customers registered for Self Assessment only could choose to use when logging on to HMRC Online Services.

They could choose to use 2 Step Verification (2SV) that involves using a code sent to a mobile or landline phone along with the usual login details. HMRC already provides 2SV to all Personal Tax customers.

HMRC has provided an update on the additional security:

“The additional security has been a real success. This week we will be looking to phase in the requirement for business customers enrolled in only Self Assessment to use 2SV when accessing their accounts.

How will the 2SV service work for you and your clients?

The 2SV service allows customers to quickly and easily link their mobile or landline phone with their Tax Account login details. When they log on in future, HMRC will either text or send an automated message with a code which is required to gain access to their Tax Account. If customers lose their phone or change number, 2SV can be reset by ringing the Online Services Helpdesk.

The optional 2SV trial has given HMRC the opportunity to learn from and improve the customer experience of using enhanced security. We have seen really positive results over the last few months, with large numbers choosing to use our optional 2SV offering.

Why are we providing this service, and what are the benefits for your clients?

  1. Security. We know that criminals attempt to use stolen login details to access and exploit customers’ Tax Accounts. Without the registered mobile or landline phone, they are less likely to succeed.
  2. It’s easy and many of our customers already do it in other walks of life. 2SV is very common across internet banking and e-mail services.
  3. It’s free.
  4. It is popular with users – in January 2016 around 600, 000 Personal Tax Account users opted-in to use the service.

What do your clients need to do?

To use the service, your clients simply need to follow the on-screen steps when they login to their Tax Account having either a mobile or landline phone to hand.

Helping protect agent’s and client’s accounts against cyber risks

HMRC is working together with professional bodies to increase awareness of cyber risks and protecting against them. Rolling out 2SV is part of this initiative, and we will be looking to implement 2SV for Self Assessment customers who are also in other regimes, including VAT, in the near future. At this stage we are not looking at implementingfor agents or other helpers.

We will keep you updated as plans develop and informed on what this will mean for individuals, businesses and their representatives, together with other cyber security news through agent emails, Agent Update, and the Tax Agent Blog. Customers registered on the Gov.UK outbound email service are being made aware through direct emails.”